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 Post subject: The Need For The Need For Speed (and Friends!)
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 17:38 
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What-ho, chaps!

Joined: 30th Mar, 2008
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I've Got The Need! The Need For Road And Track Presents The Need For Speed!

I edit these posts sometimes to keep the notes about the games together, but really if i screw up, it's here forever.

I found Need For Speed: Undercover for £2 in my local cash convertors. It was literally placed on the shelf right in front of my face as I was looking for the very title. Together with Need For Speed: Most Wanted: A Criterion Game, also for £2! I've been up until the early hours racing cars, I'm going to write some words about them in this box!

The console era NFSs from Underground to Undercover all seem to have very bizarre computer cars.

First, you have to really put the idea out of your head that the enemy cars are cars at all. They're not. They cheat. Everywhere and always. Every game. They can out accelerate you from the line, match and exceed your top speed regardless of your respective cars, take corners without slowing and cannot be attacked directly. Together they are a malevolent force that always acts in perfect synchrony to fuck up your day.

This is most important in Carbon's final races where the enemy cars can easily go 50% faster than the fastest car you can buy and are absolutely bolted to the track. Tussling with the enemy results in your instantly spinning out.

Depending on how far ahead the enemy is, they'll act totally differently. If the enemy is ahead of you by about five seconds, they won't be affected by the world or civilian cars, they'll become a completely intangible magic ghost car that glides around the world effortlessly.

If the enemy is ahead of you by about one second, they'll be affected by the world and civilian cars. Because cilivan cars spring into existence in this range, the enemy cars will weave about the track like Herbie as they try to reconcile their desired racing line with the sudden interloper. In almost every game, this'll mean that they'll slam into you diagonally, reducing your speed to nothing. They might take a ding too but their Magic Enemy Acceleration means that they won't care.

If the enemy is behind you by one second, they will be affected by civilian cars and you, but not the world. The poor enemy car now has to deal with your erratic driving on top of the civilian cars. It doesn't have to worry about the world, it'll take any corner without slowing one bit (unlike your car, which at least pretends to be a physical object at times). Drive next to oncoming traffic for lols.

If the enemy is behind you by three seconds, they'll be completely hopeless. I don't know what it is about NFS enemies, but in my experience they just don't know to recover from this far back. It's a lot easier to concentrate on the track ahead without having to worry about hitting the enemy cars like this. I spent most of my second playthrough of MW with a completely clear view ahead of me.

The late races of U2 and Carbon, and MW2012's MW races are crazier still. The enemy cars are unshakable when they're behind you, and when you're behind they're gentlemanly enough to wait for you just around the next corner. Drop to 30 MPH and they'll do the same, tootling around the track in 1st gear just outside your sight.

So, anyway, I'll give 'em all a go back to back today!

Road and Track Presents The Need for Speed
Clunky, old racing. I only mention it really because the 3DO version sets a very important precedent: the game is a duel between you, and a ridiculous FMV dude known as 'X-MAN'.

"Tired of warming the bench? Looking for something real to get your teeth into? Well then why don't you pull your butt off the couch and prepare yourself for the outer regions of OUTRAGEOUS."

Need For Speed: High Stakes / Road Challenge
Called Road Challenge in Europe, presumably to distinguish it from all the other NFS games which features neither Roads nor Challenges. It plays just like NFS3 and includes most of its tracks (but not all of its cars, BOO).

I loved the idea of the career: being able to buy cars, colour them and upgrade them is exactly my cup of tea, but the actual racing was boring as hell at the time and it's still boring as hell now. Car damage is new, meaning that the late-game >3 lap races see your car being mercilessly targeted by the enemies to the point where it simply can't make it up the steep hills of Route Adonf. When you make it to the line, most of your race winnings will get slurped away before you get a chance to see them.

Like every career NFS game to come, the game is stingy with the money and buying the wrong car can make your game completely unwinnable.

Need For Speed: Porsche Challenge / Porsche Unleashed
Every car is a Porsche, and every Porsche drives like a bar of soap being dragged on a rope. Pretty game though.

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
It's like Hot Pursuit, except it's on a console! And there's a level select full of... very, very similar races. Oh well. Playing as a cop is always tons of fun!

This is the first NFS game where the protagonist has Special Powers at his disposal: at any time during a single player race, you can temporarily stop the race and make the camera do a 360 spin around your car. I guess this is to show you your surroundings (and to look cool), but I always play on outside view, so it's not very useful.

The second power is to launch a fireball-encased down the track to show you where the track leads. Useful when you're playing on an unfamiliar track, racing at high speed, and you really would like a hint on where you have to go next. It's redundant with the map, but some folks don't like looking at the gauges (FOOLS).

Just one last thing... IT CORRUPTS YOUR SAVE WHEN YOU GET TO 98% COMPLETION!1!!! RARARGH.

Need For Speed: Underground
DA DA DOUM DOUM DOUM. Car buying and customisation returns from High Stakes! The underground neon gangsta stuff must look hilarious and dated to today's kids...

This game has a ridiculous difficulty spike about a third of the way through. I have a specific save which my brothers and I have been trying to win on and off for years. No luck. I'm convinced the game simply isn't winnable.

First person drag racing looks like Space Giraffe and you might as well be asked to do it with your eyes closed.

Need For Speed: Underground 2
It's the same as the last Underground! Nah, not really, it's much better.

The open world makes everything seem less claustrophobic than last time. The city was a coherent whole in Underground (I think), though you never got to see it.

The point-to-point drift races are new, absurd and fun. Instead of driving around a tiny narrow track like in U, you've got a large downhill slope to use, which makes chaining drifts easy and cool!

To unlock certain performance parts for your car, you have to challenge the other ambient racers on the free-roam mode to racing duels: lead by 1000ft to win. The problem is, the enemy cars have ridiculous cornering capability at all times, allowing them to turn 90 degrees at 120mph perfectly every time. The only way to win is to use a bug where the game can't decide who is in the lead if you're beside the other racer: if you both pick different routes, who is actually in the lead? 50/50 it's you!

Need For Speed: Most Wanted
The ultimate CarPG, and the first of the Speedbreaker Trilogy.

FMV cutscenes! A plot that's simple and straightforward! Racing that's unparalleled! Police chases! Perfect police chase music!

The racing feels solid and weighty without being stiff. The races themselves are short enough to not make you feel cheated when you clang into an egregiously impassible object just before the finish line.

To unlock the next tier of challenges, you have to complete a minimum number of races from a pre-set selection, so you can sometimes forego the categories of races you don't like, which is something you couldn't do much in Underground 2 or at all in Underground. You also have to complete a number of Pursuit Milestones, such as escape a pursuit with a minimum total property damage cost, or total cop cars totalled. You can do all of these things at once, and you'll be doing most of them anyway, so it works. Sometimes the cops will appear during your races, so that when you finish the race, you'll still have to elude the police for it to properly stick. As you screech around the city trying to find a route out, you'll see the other enemy cars from the race you just won being chased also. SUPER NEAT.

It's the most fair game of the bunch, both in terms of races and pursuits. The enemy cars don't cheat as much. In the Ridiculous Gallardo (which you have to be lucky to get), you can blitz ahead of most enemy cars and never see them again.

The player now possesses the 'Speedbreaker' ability: the ability to slow down time and magnify the mass of their car as to take turns with superhuman speed and precision. Basically, it gives you the same abilities as the computer for a few seconds. The player's nitro recharges from driving fast, so you're never completely without a way to recover from the inevitable crashes.

It has the best final level of any of the NFS games and it comes out of nowhere, right after you've got Your Car back and you think you've won the game.

Need For Speed: Carbon
There's nothing really wrong with Carbon. I haven't played the 360 gen version, just the Xbox version, and I didn't really notice that much different between it and the 360 version of Most Wanted. (Which makes me wonder how much of MW is brand new, and how much is Underground 2 code recompiled for 360...)

It feels about a third as long as MW. Probably because there's only four bosses (right?) compared to MW's ten. I love a good boss race. Racing against a unique car, winning it, and having some dude on screen yell at me is the kind of progression I like.

The 'crew' thing is useless. I don't remember much about it except it was feeble and unnecessary. In a race where your crew are present, you win if they take first place. Because the crew are computer cars, they have access to all the cheat abilities they do, including absurd acceleration and top speed. In fact, one of the 'crew powers' you can activate instructs them to take up position in front of you so you can draft off them. If they're that god-damned fast, you might as well not have turned up at all!

I remember that they took most of the police voice samples and music directly from MW, which is weak.

The entire game is forgettable fun really. Canyon duels are tons of fun too, except against the last guy WHO CHEATS. Of course, you don't get Speedbreaker during these duels. That would be CHEATING. This is the only game where I've snapped the disc after losing a race.

Need For Speed: Undercover
Undercover is a perfectly acceptable sequel to MW. I'd say 'don't listen to the reviews!!', but everything you've read against Undercover is probably accurate. Undercover is a half-finished copy of MW in a massive new city. The half-finished pursuits, especially.

Undercover has ridiculously sensitive handing, but I prefer to think of it as an extended steering range. Learn how to use the analogue stick properly! The later exotics are absolutely nailed to the ground and drive like the FZR2000 from NFS2.

The game is still sort of stingy with money: winning a race for the second time gets you feeble amounts of cash AGAIN (thanks for that, Carbon). With autosaving, this means you can't buy the 'wrong car' and then have enough money to win the game. Try not to throw your controller through the TV every time you're asked whether you want to buy in-game items with Microsoft Points.

HOWEVER! Unlike MW and Carbon, you get pink slips automatically during plot missions and you can't ever misplace them. In fact, you can dupe your pink slip cars as much as you like and have them all set up uniquely.

To advance, you need to earn 'wheelman points' from completing races and escaping pursuits. When you get enough points, you level up and can choose more races and cars. Every level also has a bunch of fun unique plot missions ('Jobs') associated with it, mostly where you get to drive a special car and have to do special tasks in it. You're free to choose any race in the world to get your points, so you're not stuck doing races you don't like (not a fan of circuits, myself), unlike MW and Carbon.

From looking at the box, I was worried that the game would be absolutely impossible to play due to visual effects, like Ridge Racer: Unbounded. I expected it to be Yellow and Black, but it's not. It's not even sepia like MW! You can see where you're going, unlike Carbon! The world is huge and the different locations have their own tint to them! Hooray!

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Every race is a point to point - FUCKING FINALLY. It's got the level select from Hot Pursuit and Undercover, but no plot. Boo!

After hammering the Speedbreaker non-stop for years, you've finally broke it. Instead, both the racers and the cops have ridiculous absurd weapons at their disposal. EMPs, and all weird stuff. The races become more like puzzles (determined 90% by luck) where you have to use your finite powers at specific points during the race in order to make sure you're just slightly ahead when the finish line appears. I liked the pursuits but having to deal with infinite cops with finite powers doesn't seem exactly fair.

This is the first Autolog game, if I'm remembering right. This makes the game automatically log. I only played it for a short time on my bro's computer and he didn't want me messing up his stats (that is, me setting all kinds of unbeatable records with my awesomeness). And then he never played the game again regardless.

Need For Speed: ProStreet
Need For Speed: Shift
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIT, MORE LIKE. AHA.

I played a demo of Shift once on PC. When the camera automatically turned as I approached a corner, I was overwhelmed with motion sickness and had to throw up immediately. True story.

NFS wouldn't know reality if it opened a window, breathed in the fragrant spring air, looked up at the new leaves on the trees and held up its hand to shield its eyes from the blazing sunshine. "It's Like Need For Speed Except Deliberately Not Fun" isn't really the way to sell a game to me. If I wanted that, I'd start up a Carbon career using Muscle cars. Or Ridge Racer: Unbounded. AHAHA.

I'd get either of these if they were a quid, I guess.

Need For Speed: The Run
The Run is about an insufferable git who has to drive Very Freakin' Fast from A to B or the mob will kill him. Neat!

A load of unique point to point races put back-to-back with awesome music and CHECKPOINTS AND MID-RACE REWINDS. No longer do you have to redo seven laps of an eight lap race because some CHEATING ARSE-BUCKET used his cheat powers to blitz past you in his VW Golf at the last second. A proper, decent arcade game.

I love The Run. I love The Run's cinematic music and I love its non cinematic music.

Quite a few of the races have you dodging traffic and enemy cars on a long stretch of highway against a time limit... does this seem familiar to anyone? Why, yes, this IS Lotus Espirit Turbo Challenge! And it's also kind of like Outrun, which you might have guessed from the very clever title.

Ignore what folks say about the QTEs. There's only three of them in the entire game if I recall and there's no penalty for losing them. They instantly restart. Jack Rourke is such a smug prick, watching him miss an on-foot rooftop jump and land with a crunch on hard tarmac is the perfect way to relax after INTENSE RACING. They're more like hilarious intermission scenes than anything else, and they make up for the lack of FMV sequences.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted: A Criterion Game
THE MOST SOCIALLY CONNECTED RACING GAME EVER. I've never been so freakin' bored in my life.

Oh, alright, it's not that bad. But it's not the other Most Wanted, which is the most damning thing you could ever say about any game really. MW was a CarPG, this is more like a fighting game. You pick a car, you use it, you put it back. Folks who like Lots of Different Cars would no doubt love the 'only-five-things-to-do-per-car' rule, but I sorta didn't care. Because I didn't have to do anything special to get the car, I didn't feel like it was mine, more like I was only borrowing it.

The cars are very heavy and turning is impossible. I hated racing in this game.

The city is way to visually busy compared to Undercover and Most Wanted, so I couldn't see where the hell I was supposed to be going. The Magic Walls from U2 through to Undercover that prevented you from going the wrong way down the tracks are gone. Speedbreaker is gone. (X is handbrake now, which makes for some 'hilarious' last-minute failures.)

The map is shit. For some reason, they've put the player's chevron about two-thirds of the way up the map, so it's useless as a way to see what's in front of you. For the last few decades, I've been driving off instruments exclusively, more or less, so this really throws me off.

Driving to events is shit. HP2 didn't have it. U didn't have it. U2... I can't remember. I think it did, but the city was fun. MW let you skip it, Carbon let you skip it, Undercover let you skip it, HP didn't have it and The Run didn't have it.

[[[[[(((CRASHED!)))]]]]] has absolutely no place in a Need for Speed game. Need for Speed: The Run had complete wipeouts, sure (like getting HIT BY A TRAIN) but it also had rewinds, which made not being able to see which of the three blurry grey rectangles you were driving towards was the impassable highway median funny instead of annoying. In Free Roam, CRASHED!!! meant I constantly lost track of which way I was facing.

I've never played Burny P, but if it's anything like this, I'll think I'll give it a miss.

Weirdly, I have played Burnout 1 and 2, and sometimes managed to actually Score A Burnout on them (drive the entire length of the track, every lap, without hitting a wall, constantly nitroing). And I rented Burnout 3 and Burnout Revengeance Legends and thought they were passable rental arcade racing fun. I was sort of dozy when I was playing Burnout 3, so all the flashy TAKEDOWN stuff, and IMPACT TIME put me into hysterical laughing fits.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 3:10 

Joined: 15th Nov, 2008
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..........................................

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 8:19 
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Joined: 29th Apr, 2008
Posts: 7063
Here's my review of Hot Pursuit. Of all the things I've written about games, this is probably my favourite, although a wordpress update broke the first joke :(


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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 8:19 
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SavyGamer

Joined: 29th Apr, 2008
Posts: 7063
Here's your online pass for the review.


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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 23:25 
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What-ho, chaps!

Joined: 30th Mar, 2008
Posts: 2048
Oh Christ yes, I forgot all about that. Hah!

Man, I'm glad they shook all of that out of their system for MW2012.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 19:49 
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Ticket to Ride World Champion

Joined: 18th Apr, 2008
Posts: 11440
Just read this thanks to beex weex. Good stuff, thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:51 
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What-ho, chaps!

Joined: 30th Mar, 2008
Posts: 2048
Need For Speed: World
I've played this! Surely the MMO Need For Speed is going to be THE MOST SOCIALLY CONNECTED RACING GAME EVER?

The game itself is alright. The driving feels like Original Most Wanted/Carbon, so by not fucking it all up they've made it better than Need For Speed: Most Wanted: A Criterion Game. Well done. It's like a multiplayer switch for original Most Wanted, which is apt enough because it re-uses the city from OMW. And the city from Carbon. It just mashes them all together even though they're supposed to be completely different places. It's surreal seeing the MW city in -colour- and the Carbon city -during the day-.

Every page of the ingame interface is riddled with the malignant Speed Boost pretend money bollocks. Almost all of the aftermarket physical upgrades are paid for in SB and performance upgrades can't be bought either, but only found in 'booster packs', which are an unholy cross between Valve's crates and the shitty post-race thing from the original MW costing a hundreds, thousands or in some cases HUNDRED THOUSANDS of SB. I swear I saw a 500,000 SB pack in the store. That's A THOUSAND FUCKING REAL MONEY POUNDS.

The pursuits are lame. Pursuits simply aren't fun without the recharging nitros and speedbreaker from the speedbreaker trilogy. There's some kind of team pursuit mode where all of the players share a common pool of lives, which means that when complete strangers fuck up, you lose. Great! The game reuses the pursuit music from Undercover, which was crap compared to MW/C which also upset me. The rest of the interface and ingame racing music was actually cool though! Very NFS2/3.

Nitros are now single use powerups, together with a bunch of other flaky shit that doesn't seem to have any effect. It's always a hoot getting first place against dunces in their flashy, shitty VWs and seeing in the post race report that they blasted off half a dozen Nitros and some offensive traffic manipulation powers in their attempt to catch my terrible Pontiac no-grip-mobile. The powers aren't ghastly, vomit inducing nonsense like the ones from Blur, but they're just as offensive in their feebleness and the fact that you're constantly asked to pay money to get more (though I did seem to get dozens of Nitros thrown at me from the post-race booster packs... never any aftermarket performance parts though. HMM.).

The game starts off with a necessary but boring tutorial where it won't let you mess around with the interface. About two races in, it said YOU'VE GOT SOME FREE SPEEDBOOST! and then it forced me to go into the interface and buy a booster pack it had selected for me. What do you know, it contained a full set of 2-star aftermarket parts (you can only buy 1-star parts in the shop with race money non-SB-credits)!! Gee whiz! I almost want to buy SO MANY BOOSTER PACKS if they're ALL SO GOOD!!!

It's incredibly stingy with the ingame money after races and it doesn't really seem to matter what place you come in. I always got 4000c, 5000c or 6000c regardless of my position. After doing a bunch of races, I did the DAILY TREASURE HUNT thing that kept flashing up at the bottom of the screen during Free Roam: you have as long as you like to try and fine a bunch of hidden floating gems that appear on your radar. For that tedious piece of busywork, I got twice as much money as any of the races, together with a feeble Brakes upgrade that I could sell for 3000c. And then it said YOU GET MORE REWARDS FOR CONSECUTIVE DAYS!! Not falling for it.

About 80% of the cars I saw in the store are SB only, and the other cars start at 300,000c and go up from there. There's no way I'm ever going to be able to advance past my Pontiac, so that's my NFSW career over right there.

You can't sell or trade gizmos between players, which is a bit lousy. In fact, the whole social part of this game is terrible. And it's not really the game's fault. Maybe I'm just too used to playing Internet Hearts on the Microsoft Gaming Zone, but there was nowhere near enough chat between races for my liking. I thought wishing the other players luck on the lobby screen and thanking them for a close race (especially if they were classy enough to leave the powerups alone) would at least get me a smiley face in return.

The multiplayer racing seems to work technically. Certain players seem to jiggle about as the game tries to figure out what they're doing. The level select leaves a lot to be desired. I remember when I first got my 360, I downloaded the demo of TDU and used my 30 day free trial of gold to have a couple of races. The satellite map of TDU lets you plan out freeform races almost anywhere you like on the island. NFSW only lets you pick from a really small amount of races which all seem to contain a mix of highway and town racing, whereas MW and C usually stuck to one or the other during a single race.

When you park your butt next to a race that you like, or press the all-purpose I Want To Race Anyone Please button, you can't filter out what kind of cars you're going to be racing against. My Level 1 starting Class D Pontiac '65 slidey brick kept getting pitted against top-end Class D hideous farting VWs and Nissans that stick to the ground like glue. I swear that the other players have deliberately tuned their cars so that they rest at the exact boundary between classes, to within 1% (Which further makes me wonder if they paid real money to buy the SB to get the exact combination of parts that would make that possible. Makes me physically sick it does.). It takes a while for a match to get started, and I rarely ever got a race with more than 2 others total, which was lame.

The pursuit breakers remain where they were in the original games and they're active during normal races which frustrates the fuck out of me when the other racers use them but I can't tell and I end up hitting a falling pebble that instantly reduces my speed to zero Because It's A Pursuit Breaker.

The controls didn't seem to be reconfigurable in game, which is totally bogus. The face buttons on a 360 pad appear to be mapped to the single use powerups assigned in the menu, which is terrible if you're expecting powerups on the D pad (like NFS:HP criterion) and handbrake to be a face button (like every fucking other game in the universe).

So it's not very good. But it's Not Not Need For Speed.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:49 
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What-ho, chaps!

Joined: 30th Mar, 2008
Posts: 2048
Need For Speed: Underground DOUM DOUM DOUMDOUMDOUM.
I finally bought this for my Xbox, though I've had it on PC for ages and not gone back to my old save. It's rather good.

The road surface is very wet, the distance is exceptionally foggy, and there are some glitches occassionally with the sky not appearing correctly. The racing works, and the tracks are open enough so that you can actually drive without staring at the map all the time. There's only about ten individual tracks in the game, so you'll be seeing a lot of the same curves again and again as you play.

The difficulty spike I thought I remembered being a third of the way through is no longer a problem to my racingly-studied self. I'm 85% of the way through the game having done all the races on Hard (you can choose Easy/Medium/Hard separately for every race) up to this point except some 4/6/8 lap races because they're so fucking tedious. There's only so many times you can get caught by That One Fucking Lamppost on The Last Lap before you want to punch something.

It's surprising me with how wonderfully not completely terrible it is. Hell, I've even got my head around the Drift mode! There's very very very very few cutscenes, which is a little disappointing, and they're 3D rendered rather than FMV which is WEIRD.

You only get One Car Slot throughout the entire game, NFSU lets you swap between any cars you've unlocked in career mode at any point! You get a rebate if you switch to a lesser car, and you pay a small amount to switch to a better car. You've never stuck with 'the shitty car' with no way to advance.

When I talk about Need for Speed car customisation, I usually suggest that it shouldn't be based on expendable cash, but rather a number of 'cool points' that you can use to spec any car you like up to your limit of 'cool'. (Tony Hawk's stats work like this; you can usually swap them around however you like, even during a run and often during a trick.) NFSU doesn't have 'cool points', but not being stuck with the shitty car is definitely a plus.

When you switch cars, upgrades and visual styling seamlessly transfer to the new wheels, which means that your character is represented nicely by a persistent visual style that lasts as long as you can put up with driving a fluorescent green shoe around the place. You can't save your styles in career mode, but you can in the quick race mode, weirdly. There, you can load and save as many customised designs as you like. (A bit like how the feeble Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition Remix works, where you can duplicate owned cars as many times as you like.)

Because The Need For Speed Stinge hasn't been invented yet, you're left with a ton of 'Bank' that you can't really use on anything. You need to get through around 60 of the 111 races to get significant -physical- upgrades like body modes and paint types (the things that change your star reputation). You unlock additional vinyls by earning style points (which you keep even if you lose the race, but you still have to finish), and applying the vinyls is simple and fun if you like driving around in a scribble. Vinyls don't affect your car's star reputation, so you don't need to muck up your shiny motor just to play additional races.

But... the game is really stingy with the style points; you can finish a massive six lap race and earn less than a thousand and it takes around 10,000 - 25,000 to unlock one style of vinyls, and there's about... say... 27 sets? (Level 1,2,3 and nine base styles at a guess.) You'll be scooping up Bank all over the place, run off to the customisation shop like a giddy schoolboy and find that YOU MAY NOT BUY THIS JAGGED LINE because you are unsufficiently stylish, you scruffy beggar.

By around 89/111 completion I think I've FINALLY unlocked all the customisation 'bits' and I'm onto getting all the named characters' cars for use in multiplayer. (Including a cat-themed car, hooray!) You get absurdly more style points for doing a drift race (20,000) and this amount is multiplied by your car's star rep, so you'd better install all the physical things as soon as you unlock them or you're just wasting your time.

The cheating computer is in full effect here. You can see the computer cars wobbling about, weaving from lane to lane, looking like amateurish stop motion animation. The computer cars Do Not Make Mistakes While Driving - never ever will they oversteer or understeer, while the player has to become accustomed to a new-feeling car every few races (from upgrades, and from noticing that every car reacts to upgrades differently, so you'll be switching a lot). They're appalled by the thought of venturing beyond five seconds ahead of you, but will tear the city apart to get to you if you get three seconds ahead of them. If the computer car is one second in front of you, it will stay there, magically glued to the front of your car. You will be praying and praying for some bit of traffic to knock it flying. It won't happen.

This of course means that in multi-lap races, only the last lap matters, SO WHY ARE THERE ANY LAP RACES IN THE GAME RAGHGHGH.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:06 
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What-ho, chaps!

Joined: 30th Mar, 2008
Posts: 2048
Need For Speed: Carbon
Jesus Christ, this feels so strange right after playing NFS Underground. Everything is so... indigo. Violently indigo. It's so weird. Where's the world gone? Where's the colours gone?

The simulation feels like it's running at half the speed of every other game. I felt like I could get out of the car and walk faster than this. The cars are HUGE and do not turn. It's like parade float racing.

The police are absolutely abominably pants. I was driving my unsteerable end-game-glitchy-super-acceleratey-need-it-to-beat-the-final-cheating-arsehole-boss Corvette and I couldn't manage to prolong a pursuit beyond three minutes. There simply wasn't any police! I scraped my car around the city streets, back streets and highways looking for anything to antagonize, but I couldn't do it.

There's an achievement-like thing in the game where you can perform objectives (drift Xm, beat a checkpoint at >200mph etc.) to unlock cars. It's a neat idea, but the assignment of the objectives to the bonuses is fixed, so you could play through the whole game and unlock absolutely nothing because you've managed to complete 3 out of 4 goals for each bonus. If you could pick your own bonus every time you collected 4 mini-objectives then impatient folks could get their goodies easier while completionists wouldn't be affected: everybody wins.

I had a couple of goes of late game races too and the teammate system really ruins everything. What a bother. Carbon is the idiot child of the Speedbreaker Trilogy by far.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:16 
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What-ho, chaps!

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Need For Speed: Underground 2
Don't play this directly after playing NFS Underground 1, or you'll have a sudden motion sickness episode. They've changed the camera so that it tilts quite a lot when you take corners. It's unsettling after playing NFSU1 beforehand.

The fog is gone, the bright lights and shiny track from NFSU is also gone. As a result, everything looks unusually cheap and empty and consoley whereas NFSU looked like a ported PC game. The frame rate is smoother, which is nice. I'd seen Amazon reviews of the Xbox version of NFSU which complained about the frame rate, but it was still eminently playable (the PC version of NFSU is slicker than slick on today's computers). The car selection seems very similar to that of the previous game. As in, identical. You start with a VW Golf or a Peugeot 206 and you end with a Nissan 350Z or a Hyundai Coupe. You are shocked, I'm sure.

This game features the first appearance of the ever-disappointed stare of The Need For Speed Stinge. Gone is the magic metamorphosing single car from NFS Underground. Now you have a garage where you can store multiple cars, all with unique visual styles and upgrades!

Buying cars costs money. Selling cars doesn't get you money back. Racing gets you a pittance. Repeating completed races gets you even less. You will pick the wrong car. And you will lose.

I won every race of NFSU2 on Normal but the final race was sooooooooooo long I had to put it on Easy otherwise I'd probably choke myself to death with the controller cord after hitting a bus on the final lap just before the final checkpoint.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:42 
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What-ho, chaps!

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Need For Speed
I played through the ten hour trial of NFS on origin.

Everything this guy writes is true:
https://www.reddit.com/r/needforspeed/c ... pointment/

They haven't taken out CRASHED yet. It happens less often, but that might just be because I aced the wonderful GRID recently (including the World Record and Le Mans Pro achievements) so I can do a fair impression of proper driving in a pinch. And you can't see crap because, well, it's night. Civvy headlights pop around corners to finish you off, rarely the other racers. And that's not all, because EVERY SINGLE TIME you ascend a pursuit heat level or another cop sees you or you complete the pursuit, the SCREEN WILL FLASH MULTIPLE COLOURS. From a dark screen. Flashing. Multiple colours. Flashing. From a dark screen.

The speed cameras were dangerous enough in MW2012. This is deliberate anti-player malice.

And because the game is always online, everyone's single player campaigns are overlaid on top of one another. YOU WILL CRASH BECAUSE SOMEBODY ELSE PLAYING ANOTHER GAME IS RACING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION TO YOU. The game is never on your side.

Further in the game you will CRASHED a lot. Sometimes the world will completely disappear and you will be left floating. Occasionally you'll fall through the floor. And the game treats it as if it's your fault by pushing you back to the end of any race.

Which is great because the restarts are so SLOW. And you can't use a race restart if there's cops currently on you. But that's fine because until the last 20% of the game, the cops are a complete joke. They simply don't know how to drive, and it's a rarity to get more than one car on you at once. Many of the early challenges are difficult simply because you have to circle the block at 40mph to get the cops to stay with you. I spent ten minutes trying to find a roadblock since Aphex Twin's grinning face told me to smash some.

And the cop music sucks. Seriously sucks. It's supposed to sound like America's Most Wildestest Police Bastards, but here it's just some guy tapping on a metal pipe for a bit. It escalates with higher heat; you eventually earn a second guy tapping on a pipe.

There's no police chatter. Which makes sense because then they'd have to give the places names and shapes and distinct purposes and stuff. All that subtle Most Wanted stuff. NFS's city resembles MW's and Carbon's at times, but nowhere has a name, or at least one that mattered.

It's stingy with the money so you'll hardly get to play with any cars. You'll have enough for your first car. And you MUST upgrade said car with the horrible menu, which will take up all your money and prevent you from getting any additional cars.
Oh yeah, it doesn't even have PAUSE. Even if you're ten minutes into a pursuit, no pausing. Ever. (More like 'Need To Pee', am I right?)

The starting cars are horrible and heavy. You can barely race with them. You can't compare the stats of the starting three and they don't even have classes or anything like in Carbon. Understeer and unresponsive turns are the order of the day (night). You really have to earn your way to a car that feels fun to drive. The starting car in UC lopes all over the place compared to this.

In the Speedbreaker games, your car does what it's told. In this, the car does what it's told AFTER you tell it to do it. It wobbles about, diving across the track trying to combine your input from five seconds ago with your input now with some wacky stability helper nonsense.

You can configure your car between Drift, Neutral and Grip. In the Speedbreaker games, a higher Handling stat made your car stick to the road like glue. The devs had a particular affection for the Gallardo: if you get one you will be slurping up road markings like a demon without even the hint of drifting. In NFS, Grip makes you never ever steer, Drift gives you something approximating the greasy roads of the drift levels in U and U2, and Neutral is ugh.

When I finally got a second car, I used it for Drift races only which are exceptionally easy because they don't seem to have calibrated the scores to how the game calculates them. Either that or I'm starting them sooner, ending them later and taking them faster than I'm supposed to, and ending up with double the 2nd place score through skill (I doubt it though.)

The game's plot is split up into Speed, Style, Crew, Build and Outlaw. Which have no distinctions between them because they call contain circuits, sprints and drifts. There's several different kinds of Drift race too! Drift Contest, Drift Trial, Drift Train, Touge and Gymkhana at the least! These are all exactly the fucking same, except Drift Train is a cooperative mode where you're supposed to coordinate with the AI and do drifts in a group. Except they DON'T SLOW DOWN TO MEET YOU.

And to switch from my Drift car to my Neutral car, I had to Jump to Garage (which is a loading screen and only works if there are no cops), use the horrible slow loading menu to change, exit (which is a loading screen), go to map (which is slow), go into my phone, select the person, open the map at their race location, then jump to their race location (which is a loading screen), and then press RB when the car is in the right place. (which is a sort of unskippable pre-race prologue loading screen.)

These loading screens aren't fast.

Oh, and online players can invite you to races. Which are pointless. And take priority over the RB button, so occasionally you'll ride up to a race start and be locked into some other bastard's race instead of the one you wanted to do.

Drag races are a technical nightmare in this game. In U, they were an odd little minigame, with psuedo-slot-car-y lane change mechanics and forced manual gears overlaid onto the normal driving engine. In this, you've got to trundle up to a box, stay in the box, STAY IN THE BOX, then hold both triggers, NO YOU DID IT WRONG, then hold on trigger a little bit while holding the handbrake, then let go, then hold it a little it, NO YOU DID IT WRONG LOOK THEY'RE GETTING AWAY. And then you lose.

The one and only drag race the game gave me amongst the 40% of NFS I played was won simply because the other person crashed into something.

And speaking of crashing, 50% of the time there's a cutscene where your character drives up to a building to meet his hilarious friends for a fistbump, your computer-controlled car will crash into the diner.

--

How's it stack up against other NFSs?

It doesn't have the cop chases or cop music or daytime or handling or frame rate of MW.

It doesn't have the... (?) from Carbon. Carbon was a mess, but at least it smelled of MW. And it was over quick. When I replayed Carbon recently, I aced the final canyon duel on my second attempt.

It doesn't have the massive map from Undercover. Need for Speed's city is absolutely TINY. But! It doesn't say 'Buy With Microsoft Points' on every screen, which is a plus.

Undercover also had a really nice and easy to use decal editor. You could spin the car in the nice, bright, high-res garage and apply arbitrary paint and shapes to your car in real time. God knows how it works in NFS because I don't have the patience to even try.

It doesn't have the wonderful rewinds from The Run or GRID. WHY NOT?

It doesn't have the very swish zooming instant map from Test Drive Unlimited. (But on the plus side it's not a middle class milquetoast fever dream where the greatest aspiration is to wear $10,000 beige pants.)

It doesn't have... well I guess you HAD to switch cars in MW2012, so at least you saw a lot of different carbutts.

It really is supposed to be a sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, because a game update introduced a new series of races called Eddie's Challenge which are run by one of the bosses from Underground! So... I suppose they should have called it Need for Speed: Underground World?

And then the trial ended, the game instantly disappeared without ceremony and was completely forgotten. I didn't miss it. Or maybe I did, a little bit. But not much.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:52 
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I like these posts. A lot.

I only play the very occasional NFS game so a detailed breakdown like this saves me going through the pain you do.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:08 
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As someone who played the latest NFS game and had a lot of fun with it I'll issue a few notes here.

1) The issues with other racers pissing you off in single player (which admittedly is awful), and pretty much all the rest of the glitchy stuff he mentions there, is completely fixed by putting yourself into 'solo drive' mode, which disconnects you from the amazing shared online experience and puts you in your own single player world.

2) EDIT to change to DRAG (I originally put drift)

Drag races no good and/or too hard. Bit mystified by this one, once I was on my third (fourth?) decent car I was farming allegedly the hardest drift race in the game for easy cash. All the drift races leading up to there were entirely doable in the cars I had at the time. I can only conclude the reviewer is not very good at them.

3) Shortage of cash so hard to get new cars and upgrades. Really didn't have a problem with this, I felt the game was reasonably generous with cash without being insane, and once I could farm the mega-hard drift race it was essentially in free money mode.

4) Car paint decal/customisation being 'unknown' because he couldn't be bothered to try. It's a nice easy to use editor, and you can also browse and download other people's designs sorted by popularity, votes etc.

5) Dodgy framerate. Console/shit PC issue. Nice and easy to lock in a steady v-synced 60FPS on PC. (Even on mine which is a long way from cutting edge)

6) Slow loading times and slow menus. Console/shit PC issue. Running from an SSD on a PC it's all pretty seamless. (Even on mine which is a long way from cutting edge)

Don't get me wrong this is not a perfect game, it has its flaws which I've documented elsewhere, but I think there's a lot of fun to be had with it and I enjoyed it.

viewtopic.php?p=910013#p910013

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:30 
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I'm sure EA can take the criticism on the chin, don't worry. You don't need to defend them all the time.


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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:32 
SupaMod
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Hearthly wrote:
2) Drift races no good and/or too hard. Bit mystified by this one, once I was on my third (fourth?) decent car I was farming allegedly the hardest drift race in the game for easy cash. All the drift races leading up to there were entirely doable in the cars I had at the time. I can only conclude the reviewer is not very good at them.

He said they were too easy.

Hearthly wrote:
5) Dodgy framerate. Console/shit PC issue. Nice and easy to lock in a steady v-synced 60FPS on PC. (Even on mine which is a long way from cutting edge)

6) Slow loading times and slow menus. Console/shit PC issue. Running from an SSD on a PC it's all pretty seamless. (Even on mine which is a long way from cutting edge)

That's no excuse at all. I inherited a load of shit MySQL code when I got to this job, and the solution was to buy bigger and bigger servers, until I rewrote it because it was shit. Write the game better, developer folk.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:59 
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Sorry I completely mixed up drift and drag in my post, I was referring to drag races.

As for framerate, 30FPS is not unusual for console games and you could say is very sub-optimal for a super-fast arcade racing game, I'm not sure how well it maintains that 30FPS though. Point is that there's nothing uniquely bad or unusual about this NFS game running at 30FPS.

And on loading times, even the mighty DOOM drew repeated comments in its thread that the long loading times would put people off trying the game on harder skill levels on consoles. (And that's not just a console thing, before I got my second SSD I was running my games from a mix of SSD and HDD, and loading games from the HDD was an absolute horror show, especially once I'd got used to the SSD for other games. When I got my second 500GB SSD and was able to retire HDDs completely for games I breathed a proper sigh of relief.)

DOOM is generally regarded as something of a technical marvel, but even then they couldn't sort out snappy loading times on console and you can bet they would have done if they could.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:13 
SupaMod
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Hearthly wrote:
DOOM is generally regarded as something of a technical marvel, but even then they couldn't sort out snappy loading times on console and you can bet they would have done if they could.

Yup, and it's a (the) bad thing about Doom. Saying that people should throw £300 worth of SSD hardware at the problem doesn't stop it being shit.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:27 
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Muff Cabbage !

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I really enjoyed it. Not the best game I've ever played but certainly not anywhere near the worst.

Oh and I don't have an issue with Doom loading times either. Not since I accidentally nearly killed a very expensive boot drive, replaced it with a slower one, realised it was OK and then formatted it for use to store games because I couldn't be assed reinstalling Windows 10. Mind you, it does push 1TB R&W so I guess it could be considered cheating but yeah, Doom loads very fast for me :D

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:31 
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Grim... wrote:
Hearthly wrote:
DOOM is generally regarded as something of a technical marvel, but even then they couldn't sort out snappy loading times on console and you can bet they would have done if they could.

Yup, and it's a (the) bad thing about Doom. Saying that people should throw £300 worth of SSD hardware at the problem doesn't stop it being shit.


You can get quality 250GB SSDs for about £70 now, 500GB Samsung Evos are £120.

But that really isn't the point, iD have waxed lyrical about how hard they worked to make DOOM absolutely the best technical showpiece they could on the consoles (achieving 60FPS with a graphics engine that outclasses a lot of other stuff running at 30FPS, for example), but for whatever reason they couldn't sort out loading times. Whether or not this is a limitation of the 8GB RAM pool, or the shitty slow mechanical hard drive, or something else, or a combination of factors, I don't know.

(My load from checkpoint times in DOOM are 7-8 seconds, so whatever the limiting factor is in DOOM on consoles, it doesn't apply to a shitty old PC with a half-decent SSD whose core components will be enjoying their eighth birthday later this year.)

As such I don't think it's fair to slap down NFS for 'slow loading times', it's nothing unusually bad about the game, and again, the same problem doesn't apply to running the game from an SSD.

Hard drives are ancient technology now, SSDs are cheap - stop running games from hard drives when you've got 8GB of RAM to fill.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:35 
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'£300'

Attachment:
Screenshot 2016-07-27 at 10.34.38.png


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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:52 
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Muff Cabbage !

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Yeah that's what I used to replace what I thought was the 'broken drive' (well, a 256gb model) I got it Amazon Black Friday for £39. It's not as fast as the drive I was using at booting Windows though but it's OK.

All of my games are now on SSD storage. I use a 480gb one of these that I got for £120 forever ago

Image

And this for my fave games (or ones that load like crud)

Image

twas a bit pricey though that.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:57 
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SSDs aren't big enough cheap enough yet. My second drive is 2TB.


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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:14 
SupaMod
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Hearthly wrote:
'£300'

Attachment:
Screenshot 2016-07-27 at 10.34.38.png

You've got two of them, bigger than that one. Do the math on how much you spent.

And why do you keep talking about consoles?

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:15 
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Muff Cabbage !

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Lonewolves wrote:
SSDs aren't big enough cheap enough yet. My second drive is 2TB.


They're getting there though :) Apparently a Chinese company has just sorted out a new technology that should cut the prices by about 50%.

I'm hoping that someday soon I can remove the roughly 3tb of mechanical drives and replace them all with SSD. Mainly because I use high spindle speed drives for better performance and they don't half throw out some vibrations.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:43 
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I like how this thread is now about PC hardware and how consoles are shit.


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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:48 
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To quote the linked reddit post:
Quote:
Let's start with the handling/physics, it's not good, cars feel unresponsive and heavy, the wheels do not respond fast enough to my input, it takes an age to go from full lock to opposite lock. Even with assists all turned off the game still tries to take control and veers you into walls, pushes you in a random direction, pulls you out of drifts, prevents you from drifting, or randomly throws you into a drift.

This was exactly the same problem I had with Most Wanted. I just don't understand how anyone can get any enjoyment out of this crap.


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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:50 
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lasermink wrote:
I like how this thread is now about PC hardware and how consoles are shit.

Well, it is a Beex thread.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:41 
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Muff Cabbage !

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lasermink wrote:
I like how this thread is now about PC hardware and how consoles are shit.


It's not. It's about this game being shit on a console. It has nothing to do with the console, more that it's a poor PC game "port" to console. That's very unusual because games are usually primarily written for the console and then "ported" to PC. But if you take a game, design it to run at 60 FPS on a PC with a much faster storage platform and then try running it on a console you get issues.

lasermink wrote:
To quote the linked reddit post:
Quote:
Let's start with the handling/physics, it's not good, cars feel unresponsive and heavy, the wheels do not respond fast enough to my input, it takes an age to go from full lock to opposite lock. Even with assists all turned off the game still tries to take control and veers you into walls, pushes you in a random direction, pulls you out of drifts, prevents you from drifting, or randomly throws you into a drift.

This was exactly the same problem I had with Most Wanted. I just don't understand how anyone can get any enjoyment out of this crap.


That sounds to me like it could be input lag. If you double the speed the game runs at (from 30 FPS to 60 FPS) it's highly likely you will reduce input lag. No handling setting is going to help with that. I would also imagine that faster graphics memory will aid with that too by reducing frame times and also increasing input response.

Like I said, it's nothing to do with a console being shit it just seems that this game was designed to run on a much faster platform from the start. Bad game, not bad hardware.

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:48 
SupaMod
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Why is anyone talking about consoles?!

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 Post subject: Re: The Need For The Need For Speed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:58 
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JohnCoffey wrote:
lasermink wrote:
I like how this thread is now about PC hardware and how consoles are shit.


It's not. It's about this game being shit on a console. It has nothing to do with the console, more that it's a poor PC game "port" to console. That's very unusual because games are usually primarily written for the console and then "ported" to PC. But if you take a game, design it to run at 60 FPS on a PC with a much faster storage platform and then try running it on a console you get issues.

lasermink wrote:
To quote the linked reddit post:
Quote:
Let's start with the handling/physics, it's not good, cars feel unresponsive and heavy, the wheels do not respond fast enough to my input, it takes an age to go from full lock to opposite lock. Even with assists all turned off the game still tries to take control and veers you into walls, pushes you in a random direction, pulls you out of drifts, prevents you from drifting, or randomly throws you into a drift.

This was exactly the same problem I had with Most Wanted. I just don't understand how anyone can get any enjoyment out of this crap.


That sounds to me like it could be input lag. If you double the speed the game runs at (from 30 FPS to 60 FPS) it's highly likely you will reduce input lag. No handling setting is going to help with that. I would also imagine that faster graphics memory will aid with that too by reducing frame times and also increasing input response.

Like I said, it's nothing to do with a console being shit it just seems that this game was designed to run on a much faster platform from the start. Bad game, not bad hardware.

It's not input lag. I ran it in 60 fps. On a PC.


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